December 2, 2016
A Path Forward for Youth Homelessness in Washington State
By Casey Trupin
Program Officer, Youth Homelessness

Editor's Note: Washington's Office of Homeless Youth recently completed the state's first plan to solve youth homelessness. Casey Trupin - a program officer at the Raikes Foundation - chaired the office's advisory committee and helped shape this important new path forward for the state. He offers his thoughts on the plan and its significance in the letter below.

As Chair of the advisory committee for the Office of Homeless Youth, I am incredibly thrilled to have been part of the effort to shape and guide the development of this report.

In Washington State, we have a strong and diverse movement of community leaders, funders, and advocates working together to solve youth homelessness. The Office of Homeless Youth Advisory Committee is part of that collective of voices. We encompass an array of backgrounds and perspectives, including that of legislators, educators, service providers, law enforcement, youth voice, and philanthropy. The committee has been engaged in reviewing and guiding the development of this report since our first convening.

This plan comes at a pivotal time. Partners at the national, state, and local level are more attentive to and focused than ever before on solving this issue. There is a collective recognition that we have a responsibility to care for our young people and afford them the best opportunities in life. We firmly believe that we can prevent and end youth homelessness.

Our state has positioned itself to be a leader in the nation on this issue. The state made a commitment to address youth homelessness through last year’s Homeless Youth Prevention and Protection Act and the creation of the Office of Homeless Youth. Today, we have a roadmap to guide the office’s work, direct the state’s investments, and inform policy decisions so we can meet our collective goal.

We have endorsed this plan and feel confident that it provides both the prioritization and direction needed for taking immediate action, as well as the comprehensive strategies that are needed to inform efforts over the long-term. However, this plan is not self-executing, and it will take involvement from all sectors to be successful. We hope you will join us and the office in our mission to prevent and end youth homelessness.